August 31, 2016

Do you ever feel that this world has absolutely been turned on its head? It seems anything goes—except what brings glory and honor to the triune God.

The sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman has been destroyed. The infamous United States Supreme Court makes ludicrous rulings that strip good medical sense from Texas law on abortion clinics. Young men and women, with a whole lifetime ahead of them, see life so hopeless and without purpose that they no longer care to live. People, young and old, are so confused about who they are that they mutilate their God-given bodies and ingest toxic drugs to try to become someone or something they are not. Parents, so strung out—addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling—cannot properly provide or care for their children. It seems laws are no longer about doing what is good and right for the protection of human lives and peace of the land but, instead, benefit those who can benefit the most at the expense of others. And the list goes on!

Everything that we as Christians believe to be sacred and holy is being challenged, changed, rewritten, or just plain trashed before our very eyes, and we seem to be powerless to do anything about it.

Where is the sanity in all of this? I literally feel I am in the “eye of the storm” and feel more like a stranger in this world every day.

I wonder if that was how God’s people felt when they were exiled to Babylon. Each of the exiles had his life turned on its head. Almost everything they knew was suddenly changed—taken from their homes and places of worship and thrown into a pagan culture, government system, and way of life totally unfamiliar to them.

But God gave them an interesting message: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease” (Jeremiah 29:5-6 NIV).

What a message! Despite their exile and the storm in their lives, God basically told them to carry on with L.I.F.E.Live In Faith Everyday (our 2014 Life Sunday theme): build, plant, eat, marry, bear children, increase in numbers—not decrease. These are great instructions for the storm that rages around us today!

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea … Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts … He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God …’” (Psalm 46:1-2, 6, 10 NIV).

God also charged the exiles with the welfare of the city! “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7 NIV).

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

We must be diligent and unceasing in prayer for our land: the church, people, governments, and culture to repent, seek God’s forgiveness, turn from wicked ways, and prosper by hearing the saving message of the Gospel which leads to life everlasting.

God continued His message: “‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:8-9, 11 NIV).

God warned the exiles, as He warns us, against believing the lies of the deceiver who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” God had plans for the exiles for a future and a hope. God has plans for us! “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).

Yes, even in the eye of the storm when everything seems turned on its head, we can live L.I.F.E. (Live In Faith Everyday). As former Lutherans For Life President Diane Schroeder wrote, “We live in H.O.P.E.Having Optimism Pending Eternity. Because no matter what happens, we know that He loves us and our future is secure.”

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way (LSB 765 – vs. 1, 2, 4, 5) – William Cowper, 1731-1800. Text: Public domain